Face to Face with God: 7th Sunday of Pentecost

At that time, as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud: “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When He entered the house, the blind men came to Him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly charged them, “See that no one knows it.” But they went away and spread His fame through all that district. As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to Him. And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. Matthew 9:27-35

christ_healing_blindOur life in Christ is a “synergy ” a work of cooperation between Christ and us. Faith is our part in this work of cooperation. By faith we are turning our face toward his face.

“Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! Thou hast said, “Seek ye my face.” My heart says to thee, “Thy face, Lord do I seek.” Hide not thy face from me.” Psalm 27:7-9a

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us.” Psalm 67:1

The very last chapter of the very last book of the Bible includes seeing God face to face as part of living in the Kingdom of heaven.

“There shall no more be anything accursed, but the throne of God and the lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him; they shall see his face, and is name shall be on their foreheads.” Rev 22:3-4

It seems that God desires this very simple action to happen so that He can face us, face to face! Yes, he wants to look at our face. He loves to see our face facing him, for so often we avoid this simple act. Even while we beg him for favors we somehow close not only our physical eyes but the eyes of our souls as well – strangely avoiding looking at him. Yet we know that he always looks at us, looks at us with deep love. Our face is turned to God through faith, and our eyes meet, so that every day becomes more and more luminous. The veil between God and us becomes less and less until it breaks through barriers. When a candidate for the deaconate in the Holy Orthodox Church is being ordained he stands before the Icon of Christ with a towel over his head for what seems like forever. And you just stand there gazing at the icon asking the Lord to have mercy on you. Some of our prayer should be sitting before an icon of Christ and just gazing. Behold the beauty of the Lord and let yourself be seen as well. Faith is our work in cooperating with God. And that means that we cannot hide ourselves or our lives from God. The first question asked in the Bible is a telling one. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God they hid themselves from Him. So that when he came to walk with them he asked, “Adam, where are you?”

In our life we are so often hide and get lost and are surrounded by darkness. Faith allows us to come out of hiding and to be found again. Faith is at peace, and full of light. Faith walks simply, childlike, between the darkness of human life and the hope of what is to come.

Faith is contagious when we show it to one another. Men and women cannot resist faith, even when they deny it and laugh at it and jeer at it and even kill the one who has faith.

The blind men came to Jesus with their blindness. He touched them, and they were healed. We, too, may come to Him today with our weaknesses, our sins, our problems, and our own blindness. Our sins have caused our blindness. The prophet Isaiah said:

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you so that he does not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2

When we come to confession how do we stand? Face to face with Christ. Remember the Church is both a showcase of saints and a hospital for sinners. Like those blind men we may say, “Have mercy on us, Son of David”. He will ask, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” If our answer be “Yes, Lord,” He will fill us with an inner peace that will be beyond what we ever imagined. The last sentence Jesus said to his Apostles before ascending to heaven was: “And know that I am with you always to the end of time.” Let us face reality. He is always with us. Let us be always with him.


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Filed under Scripture Rumination, Sundays, Feast Days, Other Days

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